Monday, February 22, 2010

Love your neighbor

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

This is a command from God, do not avenge (take vengeance), don’t bear grudges, love your neighbor as yourself.

The New Testament repeats “love thy neighbor as thyself” eight times. Eight is the number of new beginnings. We need a new beginning in our relationship with others. A neighbor is anyone we have an association with, it can be a family member, a co-worker, someone who lives near door.

Holding grudges will not do anything but harm you. Have you ever been mad at someone or held hard feelings toward them? I did, years ago I had an argument with an elderly neighbor. I said some things that I shouldn’t have said. I was justified in myself, that I was right. Whenever I saw her I would look the other way, likewise she would not look in my direction. I didn’t see her outside often but when I did I would avoid going by her house.

This went on for many years, seven to be exact. Many months would go by and I wouldn’t see her. One day I was going to pick up my children at school. I noticed she was outside, as I got into my car it was like a voice saying, “you need to apologize and make it right”. Looking at my watch I realized I was going to be late if I didn’t leave right then. I didn’t have time to stop now! Do you think I was looking for an excuse not to obey God?

The persistent thought would not go away. I stopped my car in front of her house and got out. My neighbor was working in her flower beds. She did not turn about when she heard the car door. I called and she turned around, not very excited to see me. I asked if I could speak to her for a few minutes. I apologized and asked her to forgive me for the words I had said many years ago. She came over and gave me a big hug.

From that point on we were good neighbors. I wasted seven years by being stubborn and holding a grudge. This is not something I’m proud of, but it is something I learned. I try, with the Lord’s help, not to hold grudges. Likewise if I feel that someone is holding a grudge against me I’ll ask them if I did something to offend them. We need to be tender to the leading of the Spirit.

Look at the quotes I found:

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~anonymous

Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. ~Malachy McCourt

“He who seeks vengeance must dig two graves: one for his enemy and one for himself” -Chinese Proverbs quotes

Are you holding grudges or hard feelings? Pray and ask the Lord to show you how to make it right.

Have a great day.

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